Greek Life fosters renewed relationship with UACC

April 16, 2015

Members of the University of Arizona Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) fraternity and Alpha Chi Omega sorority recently met with researchers at the University of Arizona Cancer Center in order to help re-establish the relationship between the two entities.

Previously, UACC and Greek Life collaborated in hosting the CatWalk, a walking and running event on campus, raising funds for UACC research. Once an all-Greek philanthropic event, PIKE took over sole organization after a two-year hiatus. While impressively raising nearly $24,000 in their first attempt of the rebranded Lute Olson Cancer Center Run, the fraternity has its sights set even higher for next February’s event. To help with those goals, Alpha Chi Omega sorority will also be collaborating with PIKE in planning the event.

Pike members Patrick Webber, Carter Hoffman, and Adam Geyser stopped by UACC on April 7 to learn about the science that they helped to fund. Along with UACC Director Andrew Kraft, MD, researchers David Alberts, MD, Setsuko Chambers, MD, and Marty Pagel, PhD, explained the importance of the resources.

“All of the innovation in the cancer world is really being funded at the local level like this,” said Dr. Pagel, in expressing how difficult it is for researchers to get access to basic science funding without binding national grant requirements.
Dr. Chambers agrees. “In order for researchers to secure large-scale, federal funding, they need to demonstrate that their ideas are already on the right track, which is where groups like PIKE step in.”

Dr. Chambers added that securing funding from an institute such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has only a 7-percent success rate, so it is critical to have that first bit of data that demonstrates that an idea is worth pursuing in a large study.

While the Lute Olson Cancer Center Run clearly has a financial benefit to cancer research, Dr. Alberts stressed that the physical component associated with the event is equally crucial.

“Cancer is truly a preventable disease. Having an event like this is terrific for raising awareness,” Dr. Alberts said. “The numbers are just mind-numbing. One in two men will get cancer and one in three women, but the research shows that a physically active lifestyle can reduce your risk by as much as 50 percent.”

More details on next year’s run will also be featured on the UACC website.

-Stanley Donahoo, April 16, 2015